Girls Like Us: The Women of the 70s Rate (#13: You said you loved me, or were you just being kind?) | Page 29 | The Popjustice Forum

Girls Like Us: The Women of the 70s Rate (#13: You said you loved me, or were you just being kind?)

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Lila, Jun 10, 2019.


Which is your favourite album here?

  1. Blue - Joni Mitchell

    12 vote(s)
  2. Between the Lines - Janis Ian

    4 vote(s)
  3. New York Tendaberry - Laura Nyro

    1 vote(s)
  4. Tapestry - Carole King

    7 vote(s)
  1. My ideal Top 10 includes 3 Extras, 1 Janis track, 2 Joni tracks and all 4 remaining Carole tracks. River, Heart Like a Wheel and Diamonds and Rust need the boot soon.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
    Lila likes this.
  2. I’ll just use this to add that if anyone wants to send in additional commentary, for their eleven or anything else, it’s more than welcome!
  3. "To Bobby" is underrated, it deserved to be in the top 10, I would've given it full marks now.

    I'm surprised "When the Party's Over" - it's always sounded a bit too mellow for me to enjoy fully it. It's not my least favorite song from the album
    And now we have a perfect top 3 from "Between the Lines" - all of them should be in the top 10.

    Glad that "California" has left, it was one of my lowest remaining scores.

    At least all of my 10's and my 11 made it into the 20! Which is probably because I gave only three 10's and one 11 in the entire rate.
    Music Is Life and Lila like this.
  4. All my apologies for the delay....



    Down to Zero

    Highest scorers: 10 x 5 (@Filippa, @pop3blow2, @ohnostalgia, @Trouble in Paradise, @Music Is Life)
    Lowest scorers: 6 x 1 (@abael)
    My score: 7
    Thread title lyrics: Sorry - Beyoncé

    So we begin our journey into the unknown of the top 20 with a fairly timely and straightforward elimination. No controversy, even as it did much better than I expected. Five 10s is a fantastic showing considering the last few eliminations have all maxed out at three. Part of my reason for including Joan is that I wanted a bit of diversity in the rate, both in terms of sound and representation, but I do legitimately love this song and in hindsight probably underscored it. My first Joan record was Walk Under Ladders (which has, truly, one of my least favourite album covers ever) and it's a very typical, if enjoyable, 80s new wave record; her self-titled meanwhile is a mini masterpiece of folk-pop and traditional songwriting in a modern setting.

    This is in some ways a very traditional narrative: losing her man to another woman, Joan questions her own self-worth before the man in question comes back to her, unhappy and unfulfilled. It's one of many songs in this rate where a queer woman sings about a man, something I guess is unsurprising given the time in which it was produced, but this in some ways feels less sorrowful than much of Between the Lines. It's of course sad, but there's a sense of satisfaction in there too, even if it isn't necessarily the most noble of sentiments. It taps into something very raw, namely that we do sometimes get pleasure from the failures of the people who have wronged us, from imagining them "dreaming of love" in bed and suffering from the pain of a heartache they once inflicted on us. In that respect it's one of the most honest songs here, as there is nothing left unsaid. Straight men deserve to suffer sometimes....that's a sentiment I think we can all get behind.

    Unsurprisingly, @abael (6) is not a great fan: "Comparatively speaking, I’ll take this as something uptempo and enjoy the change of pace, even if it still seems another pessimistic track in this collection." Neither is Maki, although he's a little more generous: "I remember this one from PJOPS contest, but it didn't catch my attention as much. However, it's a quality song."

    We have two 10s to close us out, The first comes from @Filippa: "I love Joan Armatrading and especially this song." @pop3blow2 is also a huge fan: "Haha! This song was in the same recent PJRetro with Buffy St. Marie’s ‘Poppies’. I actually gave this my 12 in that competition. I just love this song. I got into Joan some in the 90’s, when I saw Counting Crows compared to her some. I only knew a few of her songs up to that point, but really dug her her back catalog. Definitely some Van Morrison vibes in this one. I could’ve swore this was used perfectly in some tv show I watched in the 00’s, but my brain is drawing a blank. ‘Gilmore Girls’, maybe. That would seem, right. Of course, there’s the obligatory Mandy connection here, too. She has a few of those in this rate. My odd musical constant, that one."

  5. That was my lowest remaining score in the extras section, and I gave it a 7,5. Really good song, but it was about time for it to leave.
    Lila likes this.
  6. After being bummed about several recent losses in this rate, I must say I'm elated 'Down To Zero' made the top 20. I really didn't expect that.... and with five 10s, to boot!
    Filippa, Music Is Life, Lila and 3 others like this.
  7. Someone is about to be very cross and we're all going to have to face the consequences.



    Little Green

    Highest scorers: 11 x 1 (@Petty Mayonnaise), 10 x 3 (@Filippa, @Trouble in Paradise, @Music Is Life)
    Lowest scorers: 6 x 1 (@abael)
    My score: 8.5
    Thread title lyrics: Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers

    What does it mean to confess to something? It's a word loaded with associations, almost all of them negative. We think of it most closely when it comes to crimes, or the unloading of a long buried trauma. We can confess to love, but there's almost always a reason for that hesitancy in the first place; we make it a secret because it feels unreciprocated, and very often it is. Confessions are fearfully made and carefully received. But there is another line of argument, one many of us here would accept, that suggests that confessions, especially by marginalised people, are an important reclaimation of parts of our narratives we have been denied. By disclosing them to an audience, be it of one or the whole public, we force it to be acknowledged and in doing so it becomes something to which others can testify. Confessions are one of the most powerful forces on Earth, especially in the current era, but they're also profoundly painful for the individual in question. Anyone who has sat with a secret can tell you that. When you read the lyrics of Little Green, it is easy to miss the truth hidden within it. But for those of us who know Joni, who love her, it is a confession and a stark one at that.

    When Joni was 21, she found out she was pregnant. It was 1964; neither the pill nor abortion were legally available in Canada and the social stigma around unmarried mothers remained strong. Upon the child's birth in 1965, there was only one option available. I'll let Joni explain: "I was dirt poor. An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child. It was difficult parting with the child, but I had to let her go." This song was written two years after and Joni, quite understandably, sat on it for years before making the decision to include it on Blue. Her confession is hidden (to the extent that the Rolling Stone review of the album in 1971 refers to the lyrics as so cryptic that they "passeth all understanding") but it's there nonetheless, and the very existence of this song is remarkable because of it. How many women could commit something so wrenching to public record, in such detail too? Once you know you see it everywhere and it culminates in the album's most visceral lyric, one that is so profoundly sad it's hard to know what to say: "Child with a child pretending". Five words, and it's enough to knock the wind out of you. It's there in the title too -- Joni named her daughter Kelly, after the colour kelly green.

    This was not the last time Joni wrote about this part of her life. Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody, released in 1981, contains the line "My child's a stranger / I bore her, but I could not raise her". Despite this more explicit statement, the story never reached the public eye until 1993, an event which ultimately resulted in their reunion in 1997. Nothing could be the same, of course, and as far as I know, they again lost touch in the mid to late 2000s. Joni realised, at some point after this event, that the entirety of her career could be traced back to this one, foundational loss; after their meeting, she found she could no longer write songs because everything she ever had written had been for Kelly, an attempt to start a conversation with someone she thought she would never know.

    The fact that this song exists is remarkable in itself, but Joni's willingness to open up it's viewpoint to encompass the whole world is even moreso. Trauma can cause a person to look inwards and yet she manages to summarise the passage of time and the way the world turns better than almost anyone here and she does so with one line: "There'll be icicles and birthday clothes and sometimes there'll be sorrow". She's talking to her daughter but she's writing for an audience simultaneously, and we find ourselves comforted by the fact that anyone on this earth could have such insight and knowledge into our own lives. The general path of everyone's life is the same, but they're peppered by events that form and shape us. No one has ever distilled that into a song like this and I should've given it a 10. I'm sorry, @Petty Mayonnaise.

    @abael (6) is on some bullshit as usual: "Joni's vocals are the only thing this meandering song has going for it." @Maki (7) also thinks there's room for improvement: "Like the darkness in lyrics and the lightness in the music, but not a standout." For @pop3blow2 (8.7), there's a Rousseauian comparison to be made: "The pastoral & nature elements Joni taps into sometimes are amazing. Seemingly simple, but loaded with symbolism & layers of meaning."

    A nice duo of taste here, as @Filippa (10) keeps it short: "What a beautiful and sad song!" @Music Is Life (10) tries to finish things off on a lighter note: "Yay the guitar’s back! Oh fuck, I don’t know why but I kinda wanna cry listening to this. It feels so heartbreaking. Is it supposed to? Like holy shit Joni. What a beautiful song. Um, quick side note to lighten the mood: Green is my favorite color."

    I believe this video is from about 2000.​
  8. I'm at work, so you all have a brief reprieve before I destroy you.
  9. Adoption can be such a traumatic experience (I’m not saying it always is, to be clear). While I was not adopted myself, my father was, and it definitely affected my own sense of self. Ironically, once we finally found out the full story of his adoption I found it so incredibly disappointing that I wished I’d never learned at all. There’s no way I could ever track down my biological grandfathers family as he was listed as unknown and my dad was a “shameful” moment in my biological grandmother’s life story.
  10. I'm trying to actually put my thoughts on Little Green into words, but it's proving quite tricky. As many hundreds of times as I've heard this song throughout my life, on the right (or wrong depending on how you look at it) day it will still leave me in tears just as it did the first time I listened to Blue. Granted, I went into it with the benefit of already knowing the story behind it, which certainly helps one to appreciate the emotion behind it. Listening with the story in mind, it almost feels like an attempt at some kind of maternal advice for a child she didn't know. How do you prepare someone you've never met for the troubles and joys that life has in store? How do you try to comfort somebody that could be halfway across the world as far as you know? In all of its heartfelt sentiment, there's something that's still so lonely about Little Green. It's the attempt to reach over a divide that you don't even know the size of or whether there's anything on the other side to receive you. It's speaking your troubles softly into the void, unsure whether you'd even want the void to respond. It's uncertainty, and it's sadness, and it's the type of love the exists between parents and children and the loss that comes with being away from them.

    And fuck y'all for this.
  11. So I’m hoping to have this wrapped up by the 20th, because I’m moving back to London the day after to start my Masters course! No more breaks and hopefully two eliminations a day for the next few days.
  12. We're at a point where no one is going to be happy. Well, except maybe one of you....



    You've Got a Friend

    Highest scorers: 10 x 3 (@pop3blow2, @KamikazeHeart, @Remorque)
    Lowest scorers: 6 x 1 (@ohnostalgia)
    My score: 9
    Thread title lyrics: You've Got A Friend In Me - Randy Newman

    Considering this is arguably the centrepiece of Tapestry, the fact it didn't make the top 10 is surprising; for the first half of the voting it was certainly up there, but @ohnostalgia and a couple of 7.5s from @Trouble in Paradise and @Petty Mayonnaise knocked it down. I'm not sure I'd put it in my personal top 10 of the rate, but it's a beautiful song and one I've always found incredibly comforting.

    An interesting fact about this is that, although Carole wrote it, it's possible her version is not the most famous, because she recorded it simultaneously with that perpetual female songwriter botherer, James Taylor. With the exception of Fire and Rain I've never really been a fan, but it's an interesting case study in the extent to which all of these people are interconnected. Joni did backing vocals on both versions too!

    On a serious note, this is a love song to the most important relationships of all, those we have with our true friends. Writing this now, I think this song and it's message probably means much more to me than I've ever realised. This year has taught me just how important friends are: I felt lonelier than ever for much of this year in London and yet since I came home and my relationship fell apart, I've felt more loved and cared for than I have done in so long. I've remembered how wonderful it is to be around people who have known you for years and who have your best interests at heart. I've been lucky enough to be supported by some of the most amazing women I've ever met and I can happily say that they've helped me get to a much better place than I was when I moved back here in July. Funnily enough, I feel like I know some of you well enough, just from talking here on the forum, sharing my feelings with you and reading yours in return, to call you my friends. I hope you all feel the same. It's a wonderful thing to feel appreciated and I can only hope it's something all of you feel too. May we never lose it.

    We'll start with @Filippa (9) who simply says: "So beautiful! Carole’s voice truly shines!" She sounds lovely here, especially her choice to sing it in an almost shy way. It adds to the song's emotional resonance. @Maki (9) gives the same score but seems a little hesitant in his commentary: "The verses are gorgeous and, of course, sound familiar, but the rest isn't as amazing as it could've been. It has a sound of a classic, which isn't surprising at all. One of the highlights from the album, for sure." Meanwhile @abael (8) continues to be Carole's ride or die: "Carole really got in early to snatch these melodies copyrights when they were up for grabs. Composition is key and Carole is masterful in this aspect."

    I wish at @Music Is Life (9) liked this more: "OH this is great too! I really like everything about this, but there isn’t that one part that stands out." And @pop3blow2 (10) is with me in preferring Carole to James Taylor: "So, maybe it’s just because I play piano, but I always liked Carole’s version more than James Taylor’s. This is one of those songs, like Yesterday by The Beatles, that is just great universal songwriting. It’s an art that I do get concerned is getting lost as music gets more fragmented. We don’t the the same big universal songs for humanity we used to. I realize that the trade offs are nice too with modern music (unlimited & on-demand music of our own choice, an endless sea of new recommendations, etc.), but we have lost some interesting things in the culture of music too."

  13. Tapestry? More like TRAVESTY.
    pop3blow2 and Lila like this.
  14. You’ve got a friend the “centrepiece” of Tapestry? Well you hear something new every day I suppose.
  15. "Little Green" got a good placement, but it was among my lowest remaining scores.
    The story behind it is lovely, indeed.

    And I didn't expect "You've Got a Friend" to leave at this point, especially when there are weaker songs. At least I thought that "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" would leave before it.
    It's in my top 3 from "Tapestry". Out of the remaining songs, it should've easily made top 10.
    Lila likes this.
  16. Literally exactly what I thought when I saw this.
    I definitely feel like this. Anytime I talk about someone on here or the forum in general I'm always like "A friend of mine on PopJustice..." so yeah. Love you all, even when we disagree!
    Also the appreciation thing...I felt that today! Just a little bit ago, a friend of mine - we're not real close - walked by and was like "What's up big brother?" and I said "Pretty sure you're older than me." and he said "And bigger. But that's just what I say. Like especially since I look up to you and am inspired by you." And I just melted into a puddle of goo because no one's said that before.
  17. This is all very true, especially in the last year since I've gotten more involved in some of the threads outside of P&J (which are fine too, just a bit more hard to follow and overwhelming sometimes!) I feel like rates, contests, & some of the sub-forums here really do lend themselves to some of the best parts of 'connection' that the internet/social media promised and has failed at a lot.

    The rate/chart/contest threads really work better for how brain operates too, since there is more a narrative strain that flows through them & usually a smaller group of people. My gawd, in my Mandy rate I've likely shared some things most of my family doesn't even know about me, so obviously there is an emotional comfort level here. I don't always agree with everyone's opinions, nor them with mine... I really do appreciate reading other perspectives & hearing about different life experiences and how music mattered. Many times this helps me think of songs in other ways & even start to love certain songs or artists even more.

    Plus, a lot of you are just really funny. Sense of humor is hard to translate in words sometimes and I'm sure I even miss some of it. But one you learn people's styles on here, you do laugh a lot. I don't even generally mind getting dragged. *generally* ha!

    Added bonus of discovering lots of great music, which is one of the big reasons I started reading Popjustice at all like 15 years ago.
  18. So after promising I wasn't going to skip any more days I went for lunch yesterday and fell asleep when I got home dd.

    Two today, with any luck, one of which is an 11....
  19. A quick one to tide you all over...



    Heart Like A Wheel

    Highest scorers: 10 x 5 (@pop3blow2, @Trouble in Paradise, @KamikazeHeart, @Music Is Life, @Lila)
    Lowest scorers: 4 x 1 (@abael)
    Thread title lyrics: Courting Blues - Bert Jansch

    I am so delighted that this made top 20. It's one of my favourite songs in the rate but I never expected it to be so popular here, mostly because I think their vocals are an acquired taste and it's a very traditional folk song. Having it get five 10s is enormously validating and I'm so pleased. I feel vindicated and warmed simultaneously.

    This is more than a break up song. A relationship has ended, yes, but it's a song about sorrow, about loneliness, about what to do with oneself when your life has revolved around something that no longer exists. You become unfixable because there is nothing left of you to fix; all has gone with the person who left. The way they sing this is so perfect -- it's delicate but full of pain, and there's this profound yearning in their voices for what has all of a sudden become impossible. When they harmonise it's like nothing else in the world because it seems to crystallise sadness as a concept. Listening to it is like being able to see those feelings in front of you because they're connected so intimately with the song itself. It's like a hymn, both in terms of construction and the way it's sung.

    This song will endure. It already has done, of course, but it's so special in a way I'm struggling to explain. There are lots of songs in this rate that are classics but I love this almost more than any of them. It would be in my personal top 5 of this whole rate. I wish I had more to say but the right words just aren't coming to me. I'll hand over to you all.

    Here is low scorer @abael (4) with some nonsense: "The organ was overkill, on what was already a pretty dreary song." No song that features the lyric "And it's only love, only love / That can wreck a human being and turn him inside out" is dreary, sorry. It's a masterpiece. @Maki (8.25) draws attention to their voices: "Beautiful verses, definitely the best thing about the song. Their voices sound innocent and sympathetic, and have lovely harmonies. Not amazing, but very pleasant listen." @pop3blow2 (10) is on the same wavelength: "The harmony vocals here. Wow."

    A newfound stan is @Trouble in Paradise (10): "I had never listened to the McGarrigle Sisters before this rate despite having a BIG Rufus Wainwright phase in high school. When this song came up on the playlist, I was knocked off my feet. I mean just the opening lines cut right through then the HARMONIES! By God! I never would have thought a song I had never heard before would be snatching a 10 so quickly in a rate with Blue in it!" Talent wins out in the end.

  20. I've never properly listened to Kate & Anna, but that song won me over completely.
    Trouble in Paradise, Filippa and Maki like this.
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